Practical Business Skills and a Chance to be Creative

Posted in Events, Homepage, News, Spotlight on Success - June 30th, 2017

During Enrichment Week, Longhill High School business studies students were able to learn some practical, hands-on business skills under the guidance of professionals who came in to share their knowledge and experience.

Students learnt about the difference between credit and debit cards.  This was an eye-opener for some of these 14-year-old students who didn’t realise that they couldn’t go over their limit with a debit card and that you can’t have a credit card until you’re 18. They also learnt about different types of loan and why it’s preferable to pay them back every month.  They practised using their new-found knowledge by playing a finance-based card game, similar to Monopoly, which involved loans, salaries, debts and cash.

Business Studies teacher Ms Butters told us, “We taught them skills that an employer would look for, such as teamwork, using initiative and resilience; we did a tower building game where they had to use these skills. They then had an innovation activity with a bin bag, a paper clip, a plastic wallet, a plastic cup and a piece of card – they had to make something out of that.  The students’ ideas were really wide-ranging and creative: we had an outfit for festivals, a parachute, a hoop and ball game, bagpipes for children, a water filter for third world countries – we had some absolutely brilliant ideas!”

Another activity was to set up a business making shapes in which they had to get a bank loan, purchase the materials, make the product, then sell it to the business professionals.  If the professionals agreed that the shapes (products) were right, then they would buy them.  They learnt about finance, budgets, production and marketing with this activity.

We asked Ms Butters if she was surprised by the students’ reaction to the classes, “Students you wouldn’t always think would stand out, the quieter ones, or the ones who don’t usually participate in class, they showed really strong leadership skills and absolutely amazing ideas.  This was because they are more practical and vocationally minded – they really shone when they were able to show their creative side.  Some of the stars of the week were: Laith, Joe, Ben, Callum, Ed and Jerome and the girls: Leah, Sophie and Cally.”

Could this more practical approach carry on for these students next year?  “We hope that it will lead on to the Young Enterprise Scheme, maybe next year.  The students will have to present their business ideas and the best ones will be able to set up a business, to make real money, with a Chairperson and a Board of Directors.  They will have a business person allocated to them, who comes in and sits in on their board meetings to guide them; ultimately they will get a pitch somewhere locally, such as in a shopping centre, where they can sell their products.  It’s something so useful to be able to put on their CVs.”

It sounds like a brilliant idea and our thanks go to all the local business people who gave up their time to come in and work with our students:

Ian Baldwin & Ellie Milward Yorkshire Building Society
Michael Overlaet Metlife
Neil Budgen Seriously Sorted Ltd
Ian Divall Premier Inns
Helena Joyce ONCA (Arts Charity)
Tony Symons Roffey Park Leadership Institute

Stuart Passingham

Gill Siebert

Halo Sales Consultancy

Gill Siebert Marketing Ltd

Wendy Gorham Young Enterprise, East Sussex/Brighton & Hove
Madeleine Morris Young Enterprise, West Sussex